Published in Whitelines Magazine Issue 96, March 2011

After the Alps were hit with a fresh dump of snow [so clearly not this season! – Ed] the Rip Curl team went on the hunt for backcountry spots in the Portes du Soleil. Châtel is one of the area’s hidden gems; even when other resorts are suffering from dry spells, the right wind can see evaporation from nearby Lake Geneva fall as snow.

Lurking along a quiet cat track was this little puppy – a leap of faith to rival the nearby Avoriaz Gap made famous by Romain de Marchi. Having built the kicker it was a solid 25 foot from the lip to the groomers, and at least double that distance across. The landing was steep enough but only had a small sweet spot, meaning the rider had to have his speed dialled.

Elias is one of the new breed of freestyle riders; at 22 years old he’s got every trick in the book and is as consistent as a machine. Sometimes though, an old fashioned front flip is way more fun than the latest double cork, so having thrown down a perfect front seven for his video part he hiked back up and bust out this laid-out retro no grab. Regis Roland would be proud!

Unlike in Avoriaz, there were no skiers on the busy piste for us to contend with – just our annoying filmer who wouldn’t move out of the fucking way!

– Eric Bergeri, Photographer

Elias Eldhart France